St. John of the Cross

John of the Cross (painting)St. John of the Cross
Born: 1542 (month and day uncertain)
Died: 14 Dec 1591
Beatified: 22 Jan 1675 by Clement X
Canonised: 27 Dec 1726 by Benedict XIII
Doctor of the Church: 24 Aug 1926 by Pius XI

A contemporary of St Teresa, together they reformed the Carmelite friars. Enormously gifted, he was a hospital worker, poet, writer, builder of houses and aqueducts, and spiritual director – all in the midst of a deeply contemplative prayer life as a Carmelite friar. He exacts an integral spiritual poverty for one who wishes to come into possession of the all who is God. Even the slightest attachment hinders a person from reaching union with God.

3. On that glad night
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
– him I knew so well –
there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

Poem: The Dark Night, stanzas 3–5

“In the evening, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.” (Sayings of Light and Love, #60)

“Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.” (Letter 26, 6 Jul 1591)

“…a little of this pure love is more precious to God and the soul and more beneficial to the Church, even though it seems one is doing nothing, than all these other works put together.” (Spiritual Canticle, stanza 29, n. 2)